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June 8, 2007

Martini Brand Naming Gets a Makeover

Martini logoI was interested to finally read an in-depth piece on the new Martini Rosato brand name, 's new rosé-style vermouth that is "designed to grow frequency of consumption amongst Martini's four million light and infrequent (one to four drinks per month) drinkers as well as reversing the brand's outdated perceptions."

The new product is pink, a combo of white and red wines, and the new bottle design is sexier and more feminine.

Martini Rosato bottleThe logo has been centered and put in the foreground, and the labeling has been changed to "give a bright, transparent and modern feel" with the goal of increasing "brand iconicity."

Martini lovers know that has been brought in to give an extra appeal to women and the macho stamp of approval for men.

The company has a sponsorship deal with Oceans 13 and until June 11 you can get free samples at a "terrazza" just off London's Oxford Street.

The old standby bottles (Bianco and Rosso, for the uninitiated, as well as a few others including the sexy Fiero and the too cute Martini Mini) have been revamped as well.

There are two things that strike me here:

  • First of all, the smooth, sexy, hourglass shape of the bottle as well as the whole tenor of the new product and its naming is clearly designed to make this product appeal to women more than men. I have to wonder if all those martinis that were tossed down by the Sex in the City girls had something to do with this.
  • Secondly, the recipes that are on the bottles designed to help people at home make fruity, easy drinking concoctions are aimed at women: let's face it, what guy is going to mix himself a Martini Rosato over pomegranate juice or a Rosso and cranberry?

OK, somebody has to say it: what about, you know, martinis?

Could it be that the Martini brand name is actually moving away from the drink that makes it recognizable in the first place?

Obviously, the problem here is that people like martinis, they enjoy them fairly regularly, but only on a Friday night (four times a month), and when they do, they use only a few drops to a half jigger of vermouth. Winston Churchill, a great martini drinker, used to simply whisper the word "vermouth" over his martinis; some people actually only spray the gin with vermouth.

What we are seeing here is a subtle repositioning of the entire vermouth brand, aiming it at a whole new target market. Martini marketing manager Caroline Herbert says they are trying to aim the product at "lighter drinkers" (e.g. people who do not drink martinis regularly, which would be most of the non-drinking middle class) and "we are doing fundamental things that will make people see the brand in a different way."

A current weekly martini drinker might feel sort of left out even though like most hardcore martini lovers they like , which Martini has also redesigned and repositioned.

And that might not be a good thing: educated males in their 30s who like martinis are likely to ask themselves what the Martini icon James Bond would do in a situation like this. My feeling is that he'd go for a more traditional vermouth like arch competitor .

Sorry, George.

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Posted by William Lozito at June 8, 2007 11:10 AM
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